20 July 2012

VirtualBox on Mac OSX Windows 7 Guest Remote Desktop

  • VirtualBox 4.1.18 r78361
  • Host: Max OSX 10.7.4 64bit
  • Guest: Windows 7 64bit
But rather than via the VirtualBox GUI view mode I'd like to run it headless and use MS Remote Desktop so I can use it from another computer or on the same machine.

I really struggled to get the configuration right so I could connect to it at all, but also when not connected to a network (e.g. on a train). These are the settings I eventually used (if I don't mention a setting I have left it as default):

On The Host

  • Virtual Box: Preferences (i.e. for the application not VM); Network; Host only Networks; vboxnet0; settings (screwdriver icon):
    • Adapter:
      • IPv4 Address: 192.168.X.Y (X/Y = subnet/IP that you aren't using e.g. 100/100)
      • IPv4 Net Mask:
    • DHCP: Enabled
      • Address:
      • Server mask:
      • Lower:
      • Upper:
  • Virtual Box; [Virtual Machine Name] Settings:
    • Display:
      • Remote Display: Enabled
        • Server Port: 3389
        • Auth Method: Null (I found anything other than null didn't work this solution may fix that)
    • Network:
      • Adapter 1: Enabled
        • Attached to: Host only
        • Name: vboxnet0
        • Advanced: Cable connected (leave other settings)
      • Adapter 2: Enabled
        • Attached to: Bridged Adapter
        • Name: Wi-Fi (Airport)
        • Advanced: cable connected (leave others)

With these settings your VM should boot with two networks: the VirtualBox (local to the host only) one and the bridged (internet/LAN) one.

On the VM
With the settings above, boot your Win 7 VM and check Control Panel; Network and Sharing Center. You should have the two networks there. For me the VBox one was set to public and not editable (so I can't change the type from Public to Work/Home).

It seems Windows won't let you change this unless you've set the Gateway so I edited the adapter settings to add the DHCP server on as the Gateway: Change adapter settings; Internal; right click; Properties; Internet Protocol v4 Properties; Advanced; Default Gateways; Add. After you have done this the popup should come up to set the connection type: Home, Workplace or Public.


If these points don't work for you you could try some other things I found whilst looking for answers:

  • MaxNumFilters: The maximum number of network connections Windows 7 can handle is set in the key below, it may be that your system has exceeded it: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Network\MaxNumFilters

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